Welcome, my friend! Welcome!
Step inside, please, and leave office quibbles behind. Friday's here, at last -- time for fun, a bit of risk, and fair fights!
So, what shall I furnish you with? Our fine selection, carefully curated from distinguished datamancers Balco and Legna, has everything from risky brews to the most potent Meta staples.
Would you like to…
… take a glimpse at the current Meta?
- Lulu Ahri, this week's challenger to the throne,
- Their Eternal Majesties, Ahri Kennen Shurima,
- Pantheon Taric, again near the top,
- Miss Fortune Quinn, aka Scouts, returned with a vengeance to among the strongest of the strong,
- The eternal stalkers, Ahri Kennen Shadows, who have now surpassed the Queen and King in popularity,
… maybe check other strong Meta Staples?
- Fizz Lulu, aka YiA, proving they are no fluke,
- Trundle Tryndamere Shadows, making a surprise return at near the top,
… visit our newly-stocked Connoisseur's Corner?
- Jinx Poppy, a real rarity from the the Asia Pacific shard,
- Zed Poppy Rally, returned to relevance with nary a change in their old decklist,
- Zed Lulu Rally, another take reviving Rally Elusives,
- Jinx Legacy Poros, because why go Champless when you can go Jinx?
- Caitlyn Senna, a permission- and top-heavy deck,
- Kalista Elise, a mutation of Iceborn Spiders,
- Kindred Lux,
- Draven Jinx, a returned classic,
… or shall we take a walk on the wild side, and sample some of the many, many blends that prominent pilots are testing at the top?
- Zed Riven,
- Captain Lucian, one of this week's decks that attempt the Bannerman route,
- Supressin' Miss Fortune Poppy,
- Ziggs Zilean,
- Jayce Kindred Heimer,
- Frozen Bonds,
- Caitlyn Draven Tribeam,
- Sejuani Swain, because not decks showcase is complete without the Grand General,
- Azir Irelia Kennen,
- Kalista Viego, another take on the Matron Cithria combo,
- Garen Jarvan Elites, another Bannerman deck,
- Elise Fizz,
- Braum Swain Scargrounds, a very different take on the Scargrounds archetype,
- Noxus Teemo Burn,
- Elise Teemo Burn,
- Ezreal Teemo Burn,
- Aye, there seems to be a lot of interest in Burn!
- Spicy Scouts, ft. Jarvan,
- Bandle Brothers, ft. Rumble,
- Sivir Ziggs Noxurimaggro,
- Bandle Jinx Rumble,
- Lonesome BandleZaun Lulu,
- Lonesome Senna's Regrets,
- Yordle Rally, ft. Fizz, Tristana & Poppy,
- Ezreal Kennan,
- The Hairy Rose.
The Meta -- Still Waters Run Deep
At first glance, our formerly swingy Meta has now settled, like the tides, for a predictable pattern: a new deck, in this case Lulu Ahri, has risen to challenge Ahri Kennen's rule…
… while those that closely follow are the usual suspect, as they say.
Yet, in spite of most other faces among the top blends being fairly familiar, as Legna says in his last Monday's tweet (link):
The meta seems to be reaching a sort of stability even when using day-by-day playrates which is quite rare to see. At the same time the amount of new deckcodes I'm finding remain constant/high.
In other words: there's indeed no shortage of experimentation and spicy blends to sample, my friend, if such is your wish, as I hope you shall let me show you!
And, as we'll see below, underneath the surface even the familiar faces at the top are undergoing some degree of refinement and fine-tuning.
A Cut Above the Rest -- 55% winrate or more, at Plat+
For those seeking power and confidence, these are the best of the best: tried and true Meta Staples, all with a playrate above 1% in Platinum and upper echelons -- leaving therefore little room for doubt about the accuracy of their performance -- and winrates that, by Riot's own definition, are in the "broken" range.
The best performing archetype in the past three days, and with still room for tweaks, like whether or not to include Pix!.
Data strongly suggests that some form of counterspell, like Deny or Nopeify!, is a requirement.
Strong Against: Champless Poros, Elise Noxus, Kindred Viego, Draven Rumble
Struggles Against: Trundle Shadows builds, Anivia Shadows, slightly disfavored versus Ahri Kennen blends & Scouts
Their Royal Majesties, Ahri Kennen Shurima
More things swing, the more they stay the same -- although it is perhaps puzzling how stable this blend's playrate is, and how other lower-performing formulas are always preferred over it.
Interestingly, our Queen and King may not have reached their peak: the Sai'nen Thousand-Tailed variant, which data increasingly shows as superior (and therefore the one we currently suggest), is not yet the most popular.
Strong Against: Lurkers, Champless Poros, Pantheon Blends, Taliyah Ziggs, and the list goes on…
Struggles Against: Scouts, Elise Noxus Trundle Tryndamere, Pirates, Nightfall
Pantheon Taric Demacia
Taric has proven by now its permanence at the peak is no fluke.
And, like Ahri Kennen, this archetype's most popular list is not the best performer, hinting at potential for growth. Our suggested formula, which is the second most popular, makes a bit of room for Hush and an extra Bastion)
Strong Against: Scouts, Darkness, Champless Poros, Elise Trundle, Thralls, Akshan Sivir
Struggles Against: Ahri Kennen builds, Elise Noxus, Pantheon Shyvana, Fizz Lulu, Lee Sin Zoe, Lulu Zed Rally, Draven Jinx
Miss Fortune Quinn, aka Scouts
Yet again we find the same pattern: the Cithria the Bold variant, by far the most popular, may still be improved: Genevieve Elmheart, with a single copy of Riposte, seems to fare even better.
Strong Against: Ahri Kennen blends, Elise Noxus, Champless Poros, Pirates, Thralls
Struggles Against: Pantheon blends, Sentinel Control, Jayce Lux, Vladimir Braum
Ahri Kennen Shadows
Perhaps the most interesting bit of news at the top: the Shadows variant of the ruling Queen and King, while still trailing a few decimals behind in performance, has overtaken the Shurima variant when it comes to popularity -- perhaps partly thanks to Kevor's detailed guide (link), which he wrote after reaching and retaining Top #1 on the Americas leaderboard with this blend.
Strong Against: Lurkers, Taliyah Ziggs, Pantheon blends, Akshan Sivir, Heimer Jayce blends
Struggles Against: Scouts, Elise Noxus, Thralls, Nightfall
Other Strong Meta Staples -- above 53% winrate at Plat+
If none of the above blends are what you would call your cup of tea, my friend, then maybe these other powerful Meta Staples can fit the bill -- all of them likewise boasting a playrate of at least 1% in Platinum and above, so their potency is well-proven.
Any of these you take to the ladder, you can be assured you are bringing one of the best tools for the job
Fizz Lulu Bandlezaun, aka YiA
Perhaps the most refined archetype from among the Staples, with the most proficient blends only current disagreement being the exact number of Fizzs to bring.
Strong Against: Lurkers, Elise Noxus, Pantheon blends, Champless Poros, Kindred Viego, Taliyah Ziggs, Draven Rumble
Struggles Against: Darkness, Trundle Shadows blends, Kindred Sentinels
Trundle Tryndamere Shadows
Those that frequent our fine establishment will probably label this archetype's resurgence as the biggest -- even if mild, overall -- surprise: as of late, Trundle Tryndamere had been on the decline.
Its boosted performance seems to be linked to most blends cutting Commander Ledros, and either relying more heavily on spells, or bringing It That Stares into the mix.
Strong Against: Ahri Kennen blends, Elise Noxus, Draven Rumble, Pirates, Kindred Sentinels, Ahri Lulu
Struggles Against: Champless Poros, Kindred Viego, Taliyah Ziggs, Thralls
Veigar Senna, aka Darkness
Joining the trend of familiar faces willing to undergo a small facelift, this well-known archetype's best-performing blends are ditching Go Hard, to make room for Group Shot and sometimes a copy of The Rekindler.
Strong Against: Elise Noxus, Fizz Lulu, Pirates, Kindred Sentinels, Nightfall, Lee Sin Zoe
Struggles Against: Pantheon blends, Taliyah Ziggs, Thralls, Akshan Sivir, Jayce Lux
There are of course several others very playable Meta Staples in the 50%-53% WR range, which we have chosen not to openly display lest the list becomes too long -- do drop me a comment, my friend, should any of the other well-known decks be your weapon of choice, and I shall furnish you with whatever information I possess.
And then there's climbing with flair.
All archetypes in our Connoisseur's Corner have at least two hundred games under their belt -- and sometimes quite a bit more -- in the Ladder's upper echelons, where they all boast winrates above 52%. If you are looking for weaponry that is well-tested yet little-known, look no further!
Jinx Poppy Discard Aggro
Ah, now this brew is truly a delicacy: a blend so rare that, until three days ago, only five players from across all shards were playing it at Masters.
And, two weeks ago, it was played solely and uniquely in the Asia Pacific server -- attentive readers may remember it being showcased by Leer and Wamuu as they shared with the world their notes (link) about their finds while rummaging Balco's Secret Single-Shard Stash.
So rare a blend, in fact, that you will not currently find matchup data for it from Legna or Balco, which would normally mean that we would list this brew in our Wild Side section…
… but, in this case, Wamuu was so in love with this idea that he took it for a wild romp in Masters, with rocketing success -- if you want to learn about this blend in depth, my friend, then Wamuu's guide (link) should do a better job than I ever will.
Zed Poppy Rally
Discarded and forgotten after innumerable nerfs, the ruthless rulers of the pre-Ahri era seem to have returned. The list is almost indistinguishable from the pre-nerf formula, giving credence to the rumor that mixing Rally with Elusives is never a losing proposition.
Strong Against: Pantheon Taric
Struggles Against: Lurkers, Scouts, slight disadvantage versus Darkness
Zed Lulu Rally
Another take to revive Rally Elusives -- all three shards currently show the exact list that we suggest as their most popular, which strongly implies that this archetype may rock the boat quite a bit next week.
Strong Against: Lurkers, Champless Poros, Pantheon Taric, Akshan Sivir
Struggles Against: Scouts, Trundle Shadows builds, Anivia Shadows
Jinx Legacy Poros
Champless Poros, but with less -less and more Jinx.
Surely that cannot possibly go wrong!
Strong Against: Darkness, Champless Poros, Freljord Shadows builds
Struggles Against: Ahri Kennen Shurima, Elise Noxus Scouts, Pantheon Shyvana
A permission-heavy, top-heavy deck, much more popular in the APAC shard than the others. Notice its good matchups into two of the strongest Meta Staples.
Strong Against: Ahri Kennen Shurima, Scouts, Elise Noxus
Struggles Against: Darkness, Lurkers
Frozen Kalista Elise
A mutation of the Iceborn Spiders archetype, with Kalista instead of Trundle and more spider synergy.
Strong Against: Elise Noxus, Kindred Viego, Ahri Kennen Shadows -- even into Scouts
Struggles Against: Champless Poros (a really bad matchup), Darkness, Ahri Kennen Shurima
Mostly an APAC-only blend until last week, this take on the Matron Cithria combo has now become widespread.
Here is a YouTube video (link) by prominent pilot freshlobster, with the ins and outs of this deck.
Strong Against: Pantheon Shyvana, Jayce Lux, Nightfall
Struggles Against: Ahri Kennen blends, Darkness, Elise Trundle, Anivia Shadows (horrible matchup)
It would seem these are good times for going wide -- and few blends do so faster than this old classic, somewhat forgotten after the arrival of Sion.
Strong Against: Elise Noxus, Pantheon blends, Champless Poros
Struggles Against: Darkness (horrible matchup), Ahri Kennen blends, Freljord Shadows Control blends
A Walk on the Wild Side
As Legna mentioned in his tweet, there is much to rejoice if you find little pleasure in a steady, predictable climb, and would rather run the risks of ranking with rare brews: the amount of experimental blends is staggering, to put it mildly.
All these below brews have but a few handful of games in the last few days -- while, according to the data, they all performed grandly at Platinum and above, the small sample size makes these claims somewhat shaky. Anything from blind luck to ungodly piloting skills could skew the results, therefore our usual two Wild Side caveats apply here: pilots beware, and no guts no glory!
A Riven blend, as tradition demands; not ideal against Scouts and Ahri Kennen Shurima, but boasting extremely high winrates.
An all-Demacia blend, save for the Yordle Captain making everything bigger.
Supressin' Miss Fortune Poppy
A take on Scouts, with Poppy and Stony Suppressor into the mix. Do notice it loses to the standard Scouts deck.
Strong Against: Darkness, Ahri Kennen blends, Champless Poros, Draven Rumble, Pirates
Struggles Against: Scouts, Lurkers, Pantheon blends (really bad matchups), Elise Trundle
You want Landmarks? We've got Landmarks -- aggressively so.
Jayce Kindred Heimerdinger
A slight variation of Jayce Heimer Shadows, which has grown a bit in popularity as of late.
Draven and Darius, on the rocks.
Strong Against: Darkness, Taliyah Ziggs
Struggles Against: Scouts, Lurkers, Ahri Kennen blends, Pantheon Taric, Fizz Lulu
Caitlyn Draven Tribeam
A fairly old archetype that seems to have sparked renewed interest as of late.
Strong Against: Elise Noxus, Pantheon Shyvana -- slight edge versus Lurkers and Scouts
Struggles Against: Darkness, Ahri Kennen blends (horrible matchup)
As with Riven, no showcase of decks can call itself complete until the Grand General shows up.
Strong Against: Darkness, Scouts
Struggles Against: Lurkers